This Just In
(1)Editorial: Putting A Lid On Pot Sales
(2)Gray Areas In Pot Law Help The Ill, And Those Who Are Not
(3)Court Says Medical-Marijuana Growers Must Have Close Patient Contact
(4)U.S. Warms Of Cartel Shootings In Mexico Border City

Hot Off The 'Net
-Elvy Musikka On Government Claims Regarding Medical Marijuana
-The Botany Of Desire - Cannabis - Intoxication
-This Is Who We're Up Against? / By Pete Guither
-Pot Is More Mainstream Than Ever, So Why Is Legalization Still Taboo?
-The Case For Marijuana Legalization And Regulation / Paul Armentano
-California Assembly Committee Considers Life After Marijuana Legalization
-UK Drug Adviser Fired After Marijuana Comments / Mike Meno
-Busted For Handing Out Clean Needles? / Phillip S. Smith
-Judge Testifies For Marijuana Legalization In California
-Drug Truth Network

 THIS JUST IN  ( Top )


Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times

Weeding Out Illegitimate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Is a Job for the Cops, Not the City Council.

For-profit medical marijuana dispensers beware: The city of Los Angeles is focusing its finest legal and political minds on putting you out of business. And if you want to see what happens when you run afoul of this crack team of nuisance abaters, just look at the fate of those trying to put up illegal billboards all over town.

Oops, bad example. L.A. has been trying for years to limit billboards, only to violate its own ordinance by carving out exceptions and see its ban overturned in court. That doesn't mean city officials couldn't do a better job with marijuana, but their record doesn't inspire confidence.

The City Council has been trying unsuccessfully for two years to stop the spread of dispensaries, issuing a moratorium in 2007 but then failing to enforce it and allowing anyone who claimed "hardship" status to open a new storefront. That moratorium was voided last week in court, prompting the council to push forward plans for a vote on a new city ordinance placing heavy restrictions on where and how marijuana clinics can operate. But the ordinance, now in its fourth draft, was too tough for some members, so it's headed back for a fifth draft.

Here's a thought for the council: The next time a marijuana ordinance appears, just say no. The city doesn't need one.




Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Orange County Register
Author: Jennifer Muir, The Orange County Register

LAKE FOREST - Michael Hawkins, a jolly looking man in loafers and a button down shirt, walks into King's Smoke Shop and asks for the cheapest pipe they've got.

Hawkins just came from one of five medical marijuana dispensaries that surround King's on the second-floor of a strip mall at Raymond Way and El Toro Road, and he's carrying a small paper bag containing cannabis called "OG Cush" - the type that he says stops his unbearable head aches and stimulates his appetite but doesn't make him feel high.

See, about a year and a half ago, doctors removed a tumor half the size of Hawkins' brain from his skull. In coming weeks, he'll start radiation to eliminate remnants of that tumor lodged behind his optic nerve. After the surgery, Hawkins says he was a drooling zombie, addicted to potent pain medicine. That is, until his son suggested he try marijuana.

"It took the pain away," says Hawkins, 59, a home building contractor before he got sick. "I hate losing control, and this doesn't make me . The benefits far outweigh any controversy."




Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Felisa Cardona, The Denver Post

Medical-Marijuana Ruling

The Colorado Court of Appeals redefined the role of medical-marijuana caregivers Thursday in a ruling that says growers must have more meaningful contact with patients than simply providing the drug.

The court upheld the conviction of Stacy Clendenin, who in 2006 was charged with cultivation of marijuana in her Longmont home, which is a felony.

Clendenin argued that the marijuana she grew was distributed to authorized medical-marijuana patients through dispensaries. The court found that Clendenin needed to know the patients.

In a special concurring opinion, Judge Alan Loeb wrote that Colorado's Amendment 20, which legalized medical marijuana, "cries out for legislative action" because it is vague in regulating the roles of caregivers.

Clendenin's attorney, Robert Corry, said he plans to appeal the ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court and said the decision has only a narrow impact.


Continues: :


Pubdate: Thu, 29 Oct 2009
Source: Herald Democrat (Sherman,TX)
Copyright: 2009 Herald Democrat

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- The U.S. Consulate in the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez warned U.S. citizens that Mexican drug cartels were possibly planning random shooting attacks on cars Wednesday -- the same day gunmen ambushed a top state police official.

The Consulate said in a Warden's Message posted on its Web page that cartels "may target random vehicles in drive-by shootings or may call in bomb threats in an effort to distract law enforcement officials."

The Consulate said that the threat appeared only to apply Wednesday. Without elaborating, it said its warning was based on information it had received and recommended U.S. citizens exercise caution when driving through the city.

It was unclear whether the warning was in any way related to Wednesday's attack on a vehicle carrying Chihuahua state police intelligence unit Commander Luis Prieto.

Gunmen opened fire on the vehicle as Prieto left a restaurant, said Samuel Delgado, spokesman for the state Public Safety Department. Prieto and two other officers were wounded while a fourth official died, he said.





The drug war continues, but some are thinking beyond it.


Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Copyright: 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Details: Author: Amy Merrick

When Patricia Copening, a petite, 35-year-old doctor's office receptionist, bought nearly 4,500 doses of prescription painkillers one year, alarm bells sounded at the Nevada controlled-substance task force. The state board sent letters to 14 pharmacies in the Las Vegas area warning that Ms. Copening could be abusing drugs.

On the afternoon of June 4, 2004 -- a year after the letters were sent -- Ms. Copening climbed into a gray Dodge Durango, veered onto U.S. 95 and was seen weaving erratically in and out of three-lane traffic, witnesses later said. She plowed into 21-year-old Gregory Sanchez Jr., a delivery-van driver who had pulled over to repair a flat tire on the highway's shoulder, killing him at the scene. She also hit Robert Martinez, 33, who had been helping Mr. Sanchez move packages out of his van. Mr. Martinez suffered a head injury, a broken right leg and other wounds. Ms. Copening wasn't injured.

A lawsuit filed by Mr. Martinez, his family and Mr. Sanchez's family, now pending before the Nevada Supreme Court, may be the first U.S. case to address whether pharmacies can be held liable when a customer causes a fatal car accident. The case, Sanchez vs. Wal-Mart Stores et al, asks whether drugstores must use information at their disposal to protect the public from potentially dangerous customers.

The Nevada case is part of a broader movement under way to place more responsibility for patients' prescription-drug use on pharmacies.




Pubdate: Sun, 25 Oct 2009
Source: Athens Banner-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2009 Athens Newspapers Inc
Author: Froma Harrop

The Ken Burns series "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" got me thinking about one of America's worst ideas, the war on drugs. Particularly ill-conceived is the crusade against marijuana.

That bad idea is now threatening the good idea, as Mexican drug cartels - hampered by a tighter border - swarm over large swaths of U.S. public land to grow pot. There they dump toxic chemicals, dam streams, clear natural vegetation and leave piles of trash. Marijuana growers building a campfire set off the recent La Brea fire, which scorched 90,000 acres of California's Santa Barbara County.

Businesses serving tourists warn visitors against armed drug gangs protecting their crops. Last June, for example, hikers in southwest Idaho came upon a marijuana operation with a street value of more than $6 million.

Pot farms have been found in, among other places, Redwood National Park in California, North Cascades National Park in Washington state and Pike National Forest in Colorado. An operation in Sequoia National Park was discovered just a half-mile from a cave popular with tourists.




Pubdate: Sun, 25 Oct 2009
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2009 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Tom McGhee, The Denver Post

Real estate brokers say that Colorado's medical-marijuana law has sparked a land rush, as entrepreneurs lured by a growing number of licensed users search for properties for growing or selling pot.

In a down real estate market, landlords who might otherwise wait for more conventional tenants are snapping at the opportunity presented by medical-marijuana dispensaries, said Darrin Revious, a broker with Shames Makovsky Realty.

"I am working a couple of these deals right now," he said. "It is absolutely crazy how many of these deals are in the market. I can't believe it."

Since voters approved Amendment 20 in 2000 allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat eight specific conditions, the number of people legally allowed to buy the herb has steadily climbed. In 2007, 1,955 people held medical marijuana cards; the following year, there were 4,720 people on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Medical Marijuana Registry. The number has grown to about 13,000, health department spokesman Mark Salley said.




Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2009
Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Vancouver Courier
Details: Author: Naoibh O'Connor
Bookmark: (Youth)

13 Of 34 Refugee Students Mexican

Mariana Ruiz took a seat in a small office at Britannia secondary during a break from studying Macbeth in English 11 Monday.

When the soft-spoken teen started to speak, it was a surprise to learn she's only been in Canada for "one year and two days"--her comprehension and grammar are quite good.

But the teenager is one of a growing number of Mexican refugees attending Vancouver schools after fleeing corruption and violence triggered by drug cartels.

This school year, 13 of the 34 refugee students registered at the Vancouver School Board's District Reception and Placement Centre came directly from Mexico. The other students are Afghans, Burundi, Indonesian, ethnic Jurai, or mountain people, and Hmong from Vietnam and one Cuban.

Ruiz, 17, lived in the central Mexican city of Aguascalientes before escaping with her parents and three siblings.

A visit from a well-dressed man with an expensive car to a small grocery store run by Ruiz's mother Maricela Medina sealed the middle class family's fate. It was obvious the man didn't fit in, so Medina told her police officer husband, Enrique Ruiz, a commander in an anti-assault special unit.

He showed police photos to his wife, who quickly identified the stranger--a man involved in narcotics trafficking, kidnapping and organizing delinquents.




More corruption, failure and overkill in the war on drugs.


Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: Herald Democrat (Sherman,TX)
Copyright: 2009 Herald Democrat
Author: Alicia Caldwell, Associated Press

EL PASO -- One immigration agent was accused of running an Internet pornography business and enjoying an improper relationship with an informant. Another let an informant smuggle in a group of illegal immigrants. And in a third case, an agent was investigated for soliciting sex from a witness in a marriage fraud case.

These troubling misdeeds are a sampling of misconduct by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel as the agency seeks to carve out a bigger role in the deadly border war against Mexican drug gangs.

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, ICE agents have blundered badly in their dealings with informants and other sources, covering up crimes and even interfering in a police investigation into whether one informant killed another.

At least eight agents have been investigated for improper dealings with informants since ICE was created in 2003, and more than three dozen others have been investigated for other wrongdoing, the records show.

The heavily redacted documents detail how one agent failed "to report murders ... to her supervisor" and how another failed "to properly document information received from a confidential source in violation of ICE policy and procedure."




Pubdate: Sun, 25 Oct 2009
Source: Courier-Journal, The (Louisville, KY)
Copyright: 2009 The Courier-Journal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana's prisons are experiencing an increase in inmate assaults and attacks on staff -- a trend the state's prison chief blames largely on overcrowding caused by inadequate funding for new beds.

In the first half of 2009, Indiana's prisons had 514 inmate-on-inmate attacks, 62 of which caused serious injuries. That compares with 719 such attacks, 101 with serious injuries, during all of 2008, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported on Sunday.

Edwin Buss, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, said the shortage of bed space in parts of some state prisons has created a volatile situation.

"Every murderer or armed robber sentenced today has no bed waiting for them," he said. "It hasn't had a traumatic effect yet, but I liken prison overcrowding to playing Russian roulette."

Indiana is housing 27,300 inmates, a number that grows between 1,000 and 1,200 every year.




Pubdate: Tue, 27 Oct 2009
Source: Yarmouth Vanguard, The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2009 The Yarmouth Vanguard

Another layer of security to keep drugs out of Nova Scotia's correctional facilities came into effect on Oct. 21 at four facilities across the province, including the Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Yarmouth.

The Ion scanners detect trace amounts of drugs and explosives.

Four of the scanners have been placed according to need throughout the province. Two are at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside, one at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility in Sydney, and the other is in Yarmouth.

"Drugs are a problem in our province's facilities, as they are in any correctional facility," said Department of Justice Minister Ross Landry. "The province continues to look at ways to improve training and equipment to alleviate this issue, and the new ion scanners are just one more thing we are doing to make our facilities as safe as possible."

For example, if someone has handled drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines or marijuana, the sophisticated piece of equipment will detect trace amounts on their hands. The scanners will help intercept drugs that could enter the facilities.




Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2009 The State Journal-Register
Author: Rhys Saunders

These days, you don't need a stove for shake-and-bake.

Or to cook methamphetamine.

The drug itself hasn't changed, but the process of making it has, according to Chief Deputy Jack Campbell of the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office. Meth stoves, or "labs" -- often converted coolers -- are being traded for plastic bottles with the newfound prevalence of what authorities have termed "shake-and-bake" methamphetamine.

"It's basically self-contained," Campbell said. "Everything is put into a plastic jug or two-liter soda bottle, and when they shake it up, they don't let it settle out. They pour that liquid through a coffee filter."

More Cooks

Because it's relatively easy, shake-and-bake has brought more people into the meth production business, he said.

"Before, with a typical meth-using group, there were only one or two people who knew how to cook the meth," Cambell said. "Using this method, virtually any of them can make it."

The sheriff's office hasn't yet found any remnants of the new, more mobile meth factories, but deputies know they're out there.

"We're getting information about them through informants," Campbell said.




Last week a Californian columnist asserted that the L.A. dispensary boom is being driven by recreational demand.

Nevertheless, or perhaps consequently, California is giving very serious consideration to taxing and regulating cannabis across the board.

The Washington Post gave us a dispatch from the trenches to remind us just how well the status quo is working.

A Canadian court has sentenced high profile activist David Malmo- Levine to six months in prison to send a message that even ethical, principled and civilly disobedient cannabis providers are breaking the law.

 (13) A STOP AT THE MED POT DOC  ( Top )

Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2009
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Times
Author: Steve Lopez

Oooh, there's a pinch in my lower back.

My head hurts too.

And my vision is blurred from going through long lists of Southern California physicians who specialize in herbal medicine. I need relief, and I need it fast, but how does one go about choosing a medical marijuana doctor?

"I am a person first, a scientist second and a friend always," a Melrose Avenue doctor says in an ad that can be found in medical cannabis magazines.

I suppose there are advantages to having a medical marijuana doctor who is a friend always. But I wasn't really looking for a friend.

"Sadly, many of the doctors' offices in our field are shoddy at best," said an ad for a clinic in my neighborhood. "They definitely are not something to gamble on."

Good advice, I guess. In the end, I chose a Glendale clinic because it was close to home, offered "superior professionalism" and had an appointment time that worked for me.

But I was a bit nervous on my way to see the doctor. What if I got rejected?

Not that I've heard of that happening to anyone. The open secret is that it's a cinch to get a marijuana "recommendation" in California. A "recommendation" isn't a prescription, but it would allow me to visit a dispensary and buy my buds.

In Los Angeles, locating such a place would be no harder than locating a palm tree. The little green crosses are everywhere, with 186 dispensaries operating with city permits and an estimated 600 more that found a loophole.

Why so many?

Because of the usual bungling at City Hall. An estimated 600 or so managed to open -- if you can believe this -- during a MORATORIUM on new dispensaries, while city officials fiddled.

Neighborhood groups began complaining about proliferation, proximity to schools and rising crime. So now we've got a city attorney who wants to shut them down and a City Council that will take another whack at this thing in a week or two. But in the meantime, you can shop til you drop for "Sonoma Coma" and "Humbolt Haze."

This is what happens when you're in that murky middle between legal and illegal. I'm all for medical marijuana, and know it brings great relief to many sick people, but it doesn't take a detective to realize that recreational users are driving the industry under the guise of medical need.




Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2009
Source: New York Times (NY)
Author: Jesse McKinley

SAN FRANCISCO -- These are heady times for advocates of legalized marijuana in California -- and only in small part because of the newly relaxed approach of the federal government toward medical marijuana.

State lawmakers are holding a hearing on Wednesday on the effects of a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the drug -- in what would be the first such law in the United States. Tax officials estimate the legislation could bring the struggling state about $1.4 billion a year, and though the bill's fate in the Legislature is uncertain, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has indicated he would be open to a "robust debate" on the issue.

California voters are also taking up legalization. Three separate initiatives are being circulated for signatures to appear on the ballot next year, all of which would permit adults to possess marijuana for personal use and allow local governments to tax it. Even opponents of legalization suggest that an initiative is likely to qualify for a statewide vote.

"All of us in the movement have had the feeling that we've been running into the wind for years," said James P. Gray, a retired judge in Orange County who has been outspoken in support of legalization. "Now we sense we are running with the wind."




Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Author: William Booth and Steve Fainaru

Californian, Mexican Search and Destroy

ORLEANS, CALIF. -- What does a tough Mexican army major barking orders in the outlaw hills of the Sierra Madre have in common with the laconic sheriff detective from the north woods of California who puts a marijuana sticker on his truck as a joke?

They are both professional weed-whackers committed to the cause -- the hard, dirty, difficult destruction of marijuana out in the fields, plant by plant. Mexico has the largest marijuana eradication operation in the world, followed by the United States. It is a downright Sisyphean task.

October is harvest time. Marijuana bushes as burly as Christmas trees are hidden between the corn stalks above the beaches of Acapulco, and the buds are swelling on the steep hills of California's Six Rivers National Forest. There is also a thriving indoor business, almost impossible to find. The United Nations says 145 million pounds of marijuana was grown last year, with Morocco, Paraguay, Mexico and the United States the top-producing countries.

Here are two men trying to whittle that number down.

Maj. Hugo de la Rosa is a commander in Military Zone 35, a wild mountainous region where they once produced the legendary strain known as Acapulco Gold, back when Pink Floyd ruled arena rock.

There are five full army battalions stationed here, and though troops render assistance during natural disasters, what they do most is search for opium poppies and marijuana bushes. It is an army whose enemy is a plant -- grown by ghosts. The farmers are almost never caught, and rarely arrested.




Pubdate: Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Vancouver Sun
Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun

David Malmo-Levine, one of Canada's most flamboyant marijuana activists, was led off to jail Wednesday to serve a six-month sentence for a pound-a-day trafficking operation he ran for three years.

His supporters, who crowded the tiny Main Street courtroom, burst into tears and cried out, "We love you David!"

The Edmonton-born 35-year-old, who has made ending the criminal cannabis prohibition his life's work, vowed imprisonment would not end his crusade.

"I hope he is wrong," Provincial Court Judge Joseph Galati said.

While Marc Emery, the imprisoned Prince of Pot awaiting extradition to the U.S., sold seeds, Malmo-Levine was convicted of offering bags of marijuana, hash, psilocybin mushrooms and opium.

No more.

Though "in some respects I admire" Malmo-Levine for the way he presented his drug policy views, the judge insisted the criminal code must be enforced.

"He objects to being called a zealot," Galati noted, "but he admits he is zealous in advancing his cause."


Galati noted that the Supreme Court did not buy Malmo-Levine's arguments and neither did he.

"Used properly cannabis may well be a remarkable substance," he said, but no one was above the law.




In Canada, bill C-15, which institutes mandatory minimum sentencing for minor cannabis "crimes" is plodding through the Senate. "Despite the criticism," according to Tim Naumetz in the October 26 issue of Law Times, "all or most of the crime legislation the government is advancing will likely pass through the Senate." Why? Iron-willed "Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has been under relentless pressure" from the ruling Conservative party.

In Alberta, Canada, this week: a record busting magic mushroom bust - 68 kilos. "A veteran RCMP drug investigator [stated] the largest previous seizure he could recall was only about 15 kilograms." Surely such a big bust means kids are safe, and "dope" is "off the streets"? Think again. "I would be hesitant to say this is going to make a significant dent in what's going on," admitted Doug King of Mount Royal University.

And speaking of admissions, this week Professor David Nutt, top "drug adviser" to the British government, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs "sparked controversy by claiming ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol." The Professor also "attacked the decision to make cannabis a class B drug", admitting the risk of cannabis making one psycho is a "relatively small risk". Sensing the inconsistency, government was quick to denounce such ideas. "The Government is clear - we are determined to crack down on all illegal substances," repeated a Home Office spokesman.

And finally this week, remember that extreme forms of Reefer Madness are harbored not only in Mississippi, Alabama, and Stephen Harper's Conservative Party in Canada. The New Guinea newspaper, The National, reports this week "some 90% of the patients at Laloki Psychiatric Hospital outside Port Moresby are ... drug abusers". You see, "The level of chronic drug abuse is so high in the country that many addicts have just had their brains eaten out by marijuana. They become essentially vegetables... Many drool and stare off into space but many more become reckless and violent and are prone to violent fits and suffer other rages which include the tendency to cook and eat human flesh as has been reported." Got that? Smoke marijuana, get your brain eaten out, become a vegetable - but with reckless and violent fits - then you cook and eat human flesh. Any questions?


Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: Law Times (CN ON)
Copyright: CLB Media 2009
Author: Tim Naumetz

OTTAWA - An unlikely alliance of Crown and defence lawyers has shaped up in the confines of Canada's Senate.

The two sides have shed their robes as courtroom foes to share witness space at the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee and point out what they say will be the downsides of the government's proposed crime laws, including bill C-15 that will set mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

"Bill C-15 will significantly increase the trial rates with respect to these particular charges, reduce the guilty pleas, and equate into higher workload, which must be supported by the resources," says Jamie Chaffe, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel.

"If it is not supported by the resources, then these prosecutions will come at the expense of other prosecutions of other criminal offences.


Despite the criticism, all or most of the crime legislation the government is advancing will likely pass through the Senate. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has been under relentless pressure from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, both of whom regularly accuse him and his party of being "soft on crime."




Pubdate: Tue, 27 Oct 2009
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Jason Van Rassel, Staff Writer

A routine traffic stop by RCMP has led to a massive "magic mushroom" bust after police discovered 68 kilograms of the hallucinogenic drug in a truck.

RCMP investigators said Monday that the haul is the largest local seizure of the psilocybin--so-called "magic mushrooms" -- in recent memory.


Police estimated the mushrooms are worth $700,000, based on the assumption they would be sold on the street at $10 a gram, Webb said.

A veteran RCMP drug investigator told Webb the largest previous seizure he could recall was only about 15 kilograms.

While intercepting drugs through traffic enforcement can lead to some big seizures, King said targeting drugs at their source or where they're being sold remain the most effective police tactics. "I would be hesitant to say this is going to make a significant dent in what's going on," he said.




Pubdate: Wed, 28 Oct 2009
Source: Belfast Telegraph (UK)
Copyright: 2009 Belfast Telegraph Newspapers Ltd.

The British Government's chief drug adviser has sparked controversy by claiming ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol.

Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, attacked the decision to make cannabis a class B drug.

He accused former home secretary Jacqui Smith, who reclassified the drug, of "distorting and devaluing" scientific research.

Prof Nutt said smoking cannabis created only a "relatively small risk" of psychotic illness. And he claimed advocates of moving ecstasy into class B from class A had "won the intellectual argument".

All drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, should be ranked by a "harm" index, he said, with alcohol coming fifth behind cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, and methadone.

Tobacco should rank ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and ecstasy.

Prof Nutt said: "No one is suggesting that drugs are not harmful. The critical question is one of scale and degree. We need a full and open discussion of the evidence and a mature debate about what the drug laws are for - and whether they are doing their job."

In a lecture and briefing paper for the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College, London, Prof Nutt attacked what he called the "artificial" separation of alcohol and tobacco from other, illegal, drugs.

He also repeated his claim that the risks of taking ecstasy are no worse than riding a horse.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Prof Nutt's views are his own and do not reflect the views of Government. The Government is clear - we are determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimise their harm to health and society as a whole.


Pubdate: Mon, 26 Oct 2009
Source: National, The (New Guinea)
Copyright: 2009, The National

HEALTH Minister Sasa Zibe's definition for the mentally ill must be different from his own department's understanding of the same.

At least that is what he seemed to be telling Parliament when answering questions from Telefomin MP Peter Iwei last week.

For the minister, drug users do not qualify. He told Parliament last week that some 90% of the patients at Laloki Psychiatric Hospital outside Port Moresby are not genuine and that they were drug abusers.

We agree. That does preclude 90% of all psychiatric patients in the country. But we disagree with the minister that drug abusers do not qualify as psychiatric patients.

The level of chronic drug abuse is so high in the country that many addicts have just had their brains eaten out by marijuana. They become essentially vegetables. They need their own hospital, not just for their own sake and for humanitarian considerations but for the safety and welfare of the rest of society as well.

Many drool and stare off into space but many more become reckless and violent and are prone to violent fits and suffer other rages which include the tendency to cook and eat human flesh as has been reported.



 HOT OFF THE 'NET  ( Top )


Dr. David Allen Interviews Elvy Musikka About Government Claims Regarding Medical Marijuana


"In every culture and in every age of history, an enormous amount of human energy has gone into the production, distribution and consumption of psychoactive plants." - Dr. Andrew Weil


Via Radley's tweet, here is what some prohibitionists apparently think is a good argument for continuing prohibition.

By Pete Guither


By Steven Wishnia, AlterNet

Obama's drug czar has said "legalization" isn't in his vocabulary. Here's why it should be.


By Paul Armentano

An exclusive look at the historic testimony prepared for a special hearing on legalizing marijuana to the California Assembly.


By Jacob Sullum


by Mike Meno

Professor David Nutt, chairman of Great Britain's advisory council on the misuse of drugs, was forced to resign today after he criticized the British government's decision to toughen penalties for marijuana possession.


By Phillip S. Smith, Drug War Chronicle

Two passionate drug reformers are looking at serious jail time for trying to save lives.


Retired Superior Court Judge James P. Gray testifies in favor of a marijuana legalization bill in the California Assembly on October 28, 2009. Judge Gray is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which any citizen can join for free at


Century of Lies - 10/25/09 - Tony Newman

Tony Newman of Drug Policy Alliance praises DTN efforts + invites YOU to attend the DPA conference in New Mexico next month

Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 10/25/09 - Tony Newman

Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance discusses major changes in media coverage of the drug war and the DPA's forthcoming conference in New Mexico + Dr. Joel Hochmans advice to parents of drug users.



DrugSense needs your support to support to the drug policy reform community.


Sign the petition calling on the drug czar to start explaining 'non- starter" statement


One week ago today, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske (aka the Drug Czar) issued a statement declaring the issue of marijuana legalization a "non-starter" not even worthy of discussion in the Obama Administration.

In response to the Drug Czar's statement, SAFER has launched an on- line petition calling on the drug czar to either start basing our nation's drug policies on reason and evidence instead of mythology and ideology, or start explaining why he'd prefer adults use alcohol instead of a far safer substance -- marijuana.



By F. Aaron Smith

Malcolm Donahoo's sophomoric column poking fun at marijuana consumers has no place in a respectable newspaper like the Times-Herald. About 15 million Americans use marijuana at least monthly. Is Donahoo insinuating that all these individuals are useless couch potatoes or "Cheech and Chong" wannabes?

Marijuana consumers are everywhere. They come from all walks of life. The local grocer, attorney, mechanic, hairdresser, or even your local newspaper columnist might be a marijuana consumer. It's offensive that Donahoo would deride this major group of people who simply choose to unwind with a substance that is, by all objective measures, far safer than alcohol.

Do some people abuse marijuana? Sure. But it's even more inappropriate to make a joke out of problem drug users. Donahoo didn't pen a column mocking alcoholics. Perhaps that's because it's harder to find humor in the harms associated with alcohol -- liver cancer, highway fatalities, domestic violence, etc. -- than it is to laugh at a person who seems to be enjoying his Cheetos with just a little too much enthusiasm.

What is really not a laughing matter is that we waste billions of tax dollars arresting some 850,000 Americans every year for using a substance that's far safer than alcohol or tobacco.

F. Aaron Smith Marijuana Policy Project Santa Rosa

Pubdate: Wed, 21 Oct 2009
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)



By Barry Fagin

Ten more Americans died this week in a senseless and pointless war in Afghanistan, fighting an enemy with allegedly supernatural powers that is impossible to kill. I'm talking about the opium poppy.

Three DEA agents and seven American servicemen lost their lives in a helicopter crash, returning from an unspecified military action against suspected narcotics traffickers. My heart goes out to their families and loved ones. But I'm glad I didn't know them personally. If I did, it would be unforgivable of me to call their deaths tragic and unnecessary.

The war on drugs in Afghanistan is counterproductive, unwinnable, arrogant, superstitious and pointless. It wins allies for the Taliban and funnels monopoly profits right into their hands. It is a tragedy in every sense of the word, another miserable mile marker on the march of human folly.

The very idea of carrying on a war against a plant is sheer idiocy. Trying to extinguish something that is easy to produce and desperately wanted is effectively writing a check to organized crime. According to UN estimates the Taliban earn between $90 and $160 million a year from illegal heroin production. Much of that will be spent on killing Americans. How much would the Taliban get if opiates were legal?

Part of our enthusiasm for the drug war is based on a deeply human need: The desire to fight evil. The problem with this is that only people can be evil.

We hear that opium is a "killer crop," drugs "kill people," and that's why we're fighting a "war on drugs." But it's ridiculous to believe that the opium poppy is evil. People can use it to do evil, but that is an enormous difference. And therein lies the problem. The war on drugs is a war on people. That is why it is not going as planned.

People are afraid to speak up about the drug war because they're afraid of what others will think. If you say that prostitution should be legal, maybe it's because you want to hire one. If you support gay rights, maybe you're closeted. And if you support ending the drug war, you must be a druggie.


There are lots of reasons that well-adjusted, responsible citizens can want something to be legal without wanting to do it themselves. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Nor is there shame in admitting that a war is unwinnable, if that's what the evidence says. According to the UN report issued last week, the Taliban are now earning more money from heroin than they did when they were in power. Our strategy of eradication merely won more farmers over to the insurgents' cause.

Now we're concentrating on distribution networks. This will not work either. According to the UN report, a typical Central Asian state will intercept about 5 percent of the opium leaving its borders, dropping to 2 percent by the time it reaches drug users in Europe. None of this will change. To believe otherwise, you'd have to be high.

I understand that opiates can be dangerous, addictive substances. I understand that legalization will not lead to a fantasy utopia where drug-related social costs will disappear. There is no magic wand Congress can wave that will eliminate poverty, ignorance, misery and desperation. The human search for chemically induced pleasure will always be with us.

I also freely admit that I do not know every detail of how opiate prohibition should be undone. But I and other advocates of repeal shouldn't have to know all the answers. Repeal doesn't have to be perfect to be better than what we have now. When it comes to the war on drugs, we need an exit strategy.

Yes, I'm angry. I am angry we are subsidizing the Taliban and winning converts for them. I am angry there are people who unthinkingly support the drug war because they believe they are fighting evil. I am angry that good men are dying in a pointless war that is accomplishing nothing but enriching America's enemies.

Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are even worth dying for. But the war on the Afghan poppy is not one of them.

These words are hard for me to write, knowing that just a few days ago good men disagreed with me and died for it.

I just don't want there to be any more.

Barry Fagin, of Colorado Springs, is a research associate at the Independence Institute. He has a weekly column with the Colorado Springs Gazette, where this peice was first published:


"I don't use drugs, my dreams are frightening enough." -- M.C. Escher

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